Advocates Applaud Passage Of New Adoption Legislation

House lawmakers joined together this week for the unanimous passage of House Bill 1856. The bill streamlines the adoption process in Tennessee, adding updates to the law desperately needed to serve children and families across the state better, advocates say.

House Bill 1856 simplifies the surrender form — which was previously very complicated — and updates the language to reflect what the courts have ruled on the issue.

The bill also clarifies parental abandonment, makes the law consistent with U.S. Supreme Court cases on absentee fathers, and protects biological fathers attempting to assert parental rights. It eliminates the six month prior residency requirement for adoption petitioners, and expands the opportunity for active duty military personnel to use Tennessee as their legal state of residence to adopt children here.

The bill makes big changes to current law, but most importantly, it streamlines the process and makes it easier to understand. This is important for children in Tennessee, because it allows them to be in a more stable environment in a much timelier manner.

Having passed the House, the bill now awaits passage in the Senate. For more information on the legislation, please visit www.capitol.tn.gov.

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